People used to center their vacations around the best beach or historical landmark. Now more travel enthusiasts plan vacations for their stomachs. Here’s a list of the top five food destinations based on your personality type.
1. For food lovers who crave honest, non-pretentious food (take that foam and stick it up you’re a** ) and devoted pescatarians, the Galicia region is your spirit animal.
Basque country and Barcelona’s Catalan cuisine often get the spotlight, but many Spain-o-philes agree this green and lush Northwest part of Spain is the real gastronomic heavy hitter. Situated on a rugged coastline in the Iberian Peninsula, this food gem region is flush with delicious sea creatures such as cockles, crab, gooseneck barnacles, shrimp, mussels, octopus, and razor clams that are proudly and easily attainable at casual tapas spots. Like all tapas, they are best paired with wine. In this case, with the highly regarded Albariño wine that originates from Galicia.
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Galician specialties include Pulpo a la Feira, (tender octopus cooked with salt and paprika), lubrigante (Galician lobster that resembles the texture of shrimp but tastes like lobster), rice pudding, and since this is the cow capital of Spain, the beef and dairy are spectacular too. Cows in this region only eat grass and are free range. Travelers often discover this region on the famous and historic Camino trek, an intricate network of trails originating from Portugal, Spain and France and ending in the most traveled part of Galicia, Santiago. Tip: If you’ve got cheeky humor and appreciation for the irreverent, try the tit cheese. This is for realz. Spaniards named a cheese after a woman’s breast. The name tetilla is Galician for small breast. Rua de Franco is the food street in Santiago. My favorite tapas spot is A Taberna do Obispo.
2. Sure, you want your food to taste good but more importantly, you’re all about novelty. For bragging rights that you hit up a remote location for dinner it’s a tie between two secluded spots in Denmark: Faroe Islands, Bornholm.
Normally, places that make the NY Times’ Best places to visit see a flood of tourists. Not so when it comes to the Faroe Islands, rated as the #9 place to visit in 2015, due to its remote location. This self-governing archipelago is technically part of Denmark, but geographically closer to London and culturally more similar to Iceland and Norway. The biggest draws are storybook settings of magical, lush, end of the world landscapes, trying Faroese cuisine and drinking straight out of waterfalls. Yep, it’s a thing. A Faroese local said, “What? Not everyone drinks directly from streams and waterfalls?” Tip: KOKS is the food seeker’s destination, specializing in traditional Faroese cooking techniques and ingredients that are unique to this region such as Faroese cod and langostine.
When telling a local from Copenhagen that you’re planning on visiting Bornholm, you definitely score some points from them. Many Danes remember spending summers growing up at family cottages in this island boasting chalk cliffs, white beaches and an array of farmland way out in the Baltic Sea and about 200 km from Copenhagen. To get there from Copenhagen, you have to cross through Sweden and hop on a ferry to reach this island that’s off the south coast of Sweden.
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It’s the sunniest part of Denmark and is known for medieval ruins, smokehouses, artisans and produce that supplies the high-end restaurants in Copenhagen. It has a small-town feel where you ride bikes and pick up potatoes or homemade jam in honesty jars. Tip: Michelin-starred restaurant Kadeau is located on the beach where the staff encourages you to walk the ground with the neighboring beach and forest. You’ll actually find elements of your dinner on your plate.
3. Dare to be different and meet our new political overloads: Moscow.
The capital of Russia hasn’t traditionally been on the top of anybody’s food list. That recently changed White Rabbit put Moscow on the dining scene when it made the top 20 list of the world’s 50 best restaurants. Youthful chef Vladimir Mukhin maintains a fine balance between staying true to local Russian ingredients while also innovating. Big hits include rabbit and mini cabbage rolls in foie gras with potato crisps and truffle juice.
4. Street food, bugs and not-your-everyday meat parts over fancy white tablecloth any day: Mexico City.
Netflix’s Chef’s Table made it known that Mexico City could also be a food destination for people seeking an upscale experience (and dying to try the 1 million day mole…ok, maybe it’s not that old but last I checked, it was going on day 700) at Pujol. But the District Federale’s lifeblood is the street food scene, casual taquerias and market stands where you’ll find ladies making 20 varieties of mole, spicy intestine stew great for a hangover (noted by the long line on a Saturday or Sunday morning), taco stands and tortas galore. Bill Esperanza, founder of Tengo Hombre explains, “We Chilangos are torta phenes. We’ll stuff a sandwich with anything: torta de chilaquile, torta canasta, torta flauta, the list goes on. You can even get carb on carb action, a torta de tamal, where they take a torta and stuff it with a tamale. The torta de tamal offers a jelly belly variety of flavors ranging from pork with green salso to chicken roja. Tip: Al pastor taco fans, head to El Visito, operating as an auto repair shop by day and a taqueria emporium by night, is widely heralded as THE place to munch on these pork tacos.
Fond of an infinite taco bar, Tacos Chupacabras, named after Mexico’s mythical ‘goat sucker,’ is revered for their mixed meat tacos and massive condiments bar stocked with toppings such as potatoes, nopales and salsa. Follow your fellow taco-loving compatriots as they head to this taco joint that’s located under a highway overpass that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Chup resides in the Coyoacan neighborhood, the famous burrough where Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera lived and Leon Trotsky.
5. Creative, fun, fresh, new while working on your tan: Los Angeles
Los Angeles has long been a stomping ground for food lovers due to its sheer ethnic diversity: San Gabriel valley for Chinese, the real deal taco trucks, Israeli cuisine, the list goes on. An influx of chefs and creatives moving out West in the past few years has further catapulted LA into a food mecca. New York chefs are moving West for cheaper rent and year-round access to unbeatable produce and Angelinos are loving it. The creative culture cultivates a welcome environment for food experimentation. Chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymansomn (Sara squared), moved out West to open Mad Capra, a ragingly popular falafel shop housed inside the historic Grand Central Market. High-class dining on a more approachable level is their genre. Their new sit-down restaurant in the Los Feliz was one of the most anticipated restaurant openings in months. Kismet is not far from one of the most instagrammable restaurants, Sqirl (jam on toast anyone?) in the hipster haven Silverlake neighborhood.